Day 19 – A Song From Your Favourite Album – Queen – Good Company
This song was really a chance for Brian May to stretch the boundaries of what his marvellous guitar is capable of! In the days before digital effects, post-mixing sounds in, and without synthesisers, Brian managed to make his guitar create the sounds of a dixieland jazz band, using multiple takes and some level adjustment. This includes trombones, tuba, trumpets, flute, bells, clarinets and various other instruments. Brian also plays a ukulele-banjo on this track, which was his dad’s and accompanied his father through WW2.
“Good Company” was written and sung by Brian May. All vocals are performed by Brian, which was not as common as in later years.
The song is a narrative tale, told by a man who in young age was advised by his father to “take care of those you call your own, and keep good company.” In his younger years, the singer follows his father’s advice, keeping his friends and marrying a girl named Sally. However, after their marriage, he begins to lose interest in his friends, who gradually disappear. As he grows older, he becomes increasingly skilled at and dedicated to his occupation, working long nights and neglecting his family.
Eventually, the man’s efforts are rewarded, he begins his own Limited company (which is also a pun, since throughout the rest of the song “company” is used in the sense of companions). Even more dedicated to his business, he hardly notices as his wife leaves him. The song finishes with the speaker as an elderly man, puffing his pipe and pondering the lessons of his life, which he has no one left to share with.
In one of the more philosophical lines in the song the narrator muses, “all through the years in the end it appears, there was never really anyone but me”.
Official Video Clip
Vocals & Bass Only
Queen – Good Company
Words and music by Brian May
Take good care of what you’ve got
My father said to me
As he puffed his pipe and baby B
He dandled on his knee
Don’t fool with fools who’ll turn away
Keep all good company oohoo oohoo
Take care of those you call your own and keep good
Soon I grew and happy too
My very good friends and me
We’d play all day with Sally J
The girl from number four
And very soon I begged her
Won’t you keep me company?
Oohoo oohoo oohoo oohoo
Come marry me for evermore
We’ll be good company
Now marriage is an institution sure
My wife and I our needs and nothing more
All my friends by a year by and by disappeared
But we’re safe enough behind our door
I flourished in my humble trade my reputation grew
The work devoured my waking hours but when my time
Reward of all my efforts
My own Limited Company
I hardly noticed Sally as we parted company
All through the years in the end it appears
There was never really anyone but me
Now I’m old I puff my pipe but no one’s there to see
I ponder on the lesson of my life’s insanity
Take care of those you call your own
And keep good company